Ticks – out in full swing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor anyone that has taken advantage of the wonderful weather and gone out for a hike, you will have discovered the ticks are also out.   Dogs that go to the lake, camping, walk in the country or who live in rural areas are most likely to attract ticks. In many areas of Canada and the U.S. ticks are of particular concern as they may transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever and other bacterial parasites. Fortunately most of these diseases are not found in Saskatchewan. Furthermore the tick that does transmit Lyme disease is not the tick we commonly find on our dogs here. Even though there is very little risk of disease from the ticks, the bites are irritating and in large numbers can make your pet feel ill.
Ticks are found in grass and bushes and jump on the dog as it passes by. Within a few hours the ticks usually attach themselves into the skin and begin taking a blood meal. Check your dog for ticks immediately after being outside and again several hours later. Ticks particularly like to attach to the ears and neck of dogs (in nice warm, well furred areas). Once you find a tick place a small dab of rubbing alcohol on the attachment site and grasp the head with tweezers. Gently and slowly pull the tick off so that the mouth parts come with it. Wipe the area where the tick was with alcohol. Before disposing of the tick drown it in a jar with a bit of oil and water in it. The area where the tick was removed may be irritated for several days. If this occurs clean the site daily with antibacterial soap. Never use kerosene, matches or any method other than simply pulling them off to remove ticks.  If you are concerned about the site where you have removed a tick, please call us.  Occasionally a bit of infection can set in where antibiotics are needed to treat it.

For dogs that are frequently in heavily infested areas a product to repel ticks may be advised. The clinic sells Defend* and Advantix which are pesticides that go on the back of the dog’s neck and lasts 3-4 weeks. These products will greatly reduce the number of ticks on the dog but will not entirely eliminate them. They are not safe for cats and are not recommended for dogs that sleep with a cat or where the cat may groom the dog. Revolution is another parasiticide sold at the clinic that has activity against ticks. It does not repel ticks but causes them to prematurely die and fall off once they start their blood meal. It is safe for use with cats.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding ticks please do not hesitate to contact us.  Also check the AAHA Healthy Pet.com site for more information.

*Amendment: at the time this was originally posted we could still get Defend, unfortunately this product is no longer available.  We are still able to get the Advantix and carry a ready supply available to you on the counter at reception.

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  1. Traveling with Your Pet | Albert North Vet Clinic

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